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ARS Home » Plains Area » Manhattan, Kansas » Center for Grain and Animal Health Research » ABADRU » Research » Research Project #429596

Research Project: Animal Studies in BSL-3 Containment at Pat Roberts Hall

Location: Arthropod-borne Animal Diseases Research

Project Number: 3020-32000-014-03-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Sep 1, 2015
End Date: Aug 31, 2020

The purpose of this agreement is to facilitate research to enhance the understanding of arbovirus transmission, pathogenesis and virulence. The overall goals of this research project will be two-fold: 1) completion of animal studies (RVFV infection of deer and vector transmission mechanisms for arboviruses), and 2) complete the necessary analytical laboratory work in support of these studies. The long-term goal is to develop better countermeasures (detection and preventative tools) to increase the efficiency of livestock production, and in the case of zoonotic diseases, prevent the transmission to human hosts. Specifically, the objectives include maintaining and further developing the USDA-Agricultural Research Service (ARS), Arthropod-Borne Animal Disease Research Unit (ABADRU) exotic bluetongue virus (BTV), Rift Valley fever virus (RVFV), and vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) research through animal studies. The general objectives would be to characterize the susceptibility, pathogenesis, and virus-vector-host interactions of BTV, RVFV, and VSV in mammalian and invertebrate cell cultures and hosts.

BTV, RVFV, and VSV are pathogens affecting livestock that require an integrated investigative approach involving serology, epidemiology, molecular biology, entomology and veterinary science. ARS-ABADRU and Kansas State University scientists will collaboratively investigate development of diagnostic tests of exotic and endemic strains of both viruses in high containment facilities. Staff will maintain collections, generate virus preparations by in vitro growth in cell culture, and purify RNA from the virus preparations. Animal infection studies will be conducted with RVFV, BTV and VSV. The role of arthropod vectors in the establishment of infection, replication and persistence will be evaluated. Bite rates, viral transmission, infestation rates and pathogenesis will be measured by methods including clinical disease observations, virus isolation/plaque assay, polymerase chain reaction, ELISA, necropsy, histopathology and immunohistochemistry.